Free images - Insects - Flies
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Did you know….
That there are about 160,000 known species of flies worldwide and about 20,000 species in the United States and Canada?
Adult flies are most active on warm, sunny days, but some species come out only at night.
species are divided into two main groups based on their antennae - those
having long, segmented antennae, and those have short, often bristle-like
flies are insects in the order Diptera. The
name comes from the Greek language “di” meaning “two” and
“ptera” meaning “wings”. This
order also includes mosquitoes, midges, gnats and others.
A distinguishing factor that separates a fly from other insects is
that they have only two wings (one pair) for flying located on the
mesothorax and a pair of “halteres” on the metathorax.
“Halteres” are small knobbed structures that look like clubs. Look for the two clubs in the image above - see them just below the wings? Halteres move back and forth quickly and help the insect to rotate and balance its body during flight. Some parasitic species, however, have no wings!
flies can be a nuisance, pests and spread disease, they and their larvae
are also important food sources for many other species and act as
Take note of the spelling of insect names. Recently, true flies are written as two words: bee fly; crane fly, etc. Other insects in an order other than diptera also have the word “fly” in their names, but they are written as one word: butterfly, dragonfly, mayfly, firefly, etc. This is a relatively new way of distinguishing species, but beware, older books you may consult may have different spellings using hyphenated words like dragon-fly.
- flies have mobile heads;
- most flies have large compound eyes on the sides of their heads and three small ocelli on the top.
- flies can fly up and down, side to side and even backwards.
- flies have sticky, hairy feet and can stick to almost any surface. They can walk upside down.
- flies don’t have teeth – they have a long tongue called a proboscis which sucks up their food like a straw.
- common houseflies can liquefy many solid foods with their saliva.
- flies eat garbage, rotting items and manure. Their feeding range is about two miles. Germs from these items remain on the feet and mouth of flies and are then transmitted to where-ever the fly lands. Think about that when you next see a fly sitting on your lunch!
- flies can smell things up to 750 yards away.
- flies are often carriers of diseases such as typhoid fever, cholera, dysentery, etc. The disease is picked up by the fly’s leg hairs or mouth and transmitted as it regurgitates them onto you food during the process of liquefying solid food.
- a fly’s life cycle is about 30 days. A female lays between 400-600 eggs which hatch into small, grub-like larvae also known as “maggots”. The larvae grow into adult flies within a few days.
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